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SLORC: SLORC Ridicules Political Pr

Received: (from strider) by igc6.igc.apc.org (8.7.5/8.7.3) id EAA28492; Fri, 17 May 1996 04:26:42 -0700 (PDT)
Date: Fri, 17 May 1996 04:26:42 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: SLORC: SLORC Ridicules Political Prisoners

   "The claim that politicians have more dignity than ordinary prisoners
   does not even have the value of a tip on the winning number in the
   illegal lottery from a deranged person by the roadside."
                                        SLORC on political prisoners

The following article ridiculing Burma's political prisoners appeared 
in a government controlled newspaper on May 4, 1996.  Myanmar Alin is 
the Burmese language version of the New Light of Myanmar.  SLORC did 
not run this article in its English language paper.

This article is noteworthy for at least two reasons.  First, it mocks 
the political prisoners the regime claims it does not hold.  It also is 
an indication of the rising political tension inside the country and 
can fairly be considered a threat to politicians not yet in prison.


(Note:  Translation done by FBIS.  FBIS has titled the piece:  "Article
Ridicules Political Prisoners)

May 4, 1996, pages 5 and 9
Myanmar Alin in Burmese

Like Westerner, Like Mischief Maker, by Byatti

There are four categories of the state of befuddlement that occurs
during imprisonment. Once imprisoned, on one, no matter how strong a
spirit for the democratic cause, will stand up and dance happily.  Some
claimed to be brave enough to catch an elephant, tiger, Godzilla, King
Kong, and a dinosaur.  When they are faced with the predicament of
imprisonment, however, the tears start welling in their eyes, and their
face turns pale like a female monkey unable to give birth.  When they
hear the prison door banged shut at the prison entrance, they become
nervous and slip into a state of befuddlement.  Such a state is called: 
befuddlement upon imprisonment. 

As they settled into a life of imprisonment, a change develops in their
mannerism.  They start worrying about their families, especially those with
beautiful young wives.  They get suspicious when their well-groomed wives
visit them, and they speak in harsh tones to their wives.  They feel
frustrated when they do not receive visits.  So, being politicians, they
resort to speaking endearingly and with allure.  We have to laugh.  This is
the category of the lesson on befuddlement after being imprisoned for some

Regardless of their prison term, everyone wants to be released even before the
ink on their prison number stamp is dry.  They pray to the buddhas and the
buddhas-to-be, deities, and spiritual beings and say their prayer beads for
their release.  (passage omitted on manipulation under desire for release)
They are afraid of long-term imprisonment.  These are characteristics of
befuddlement out of the desire to be released.

Some start giving trouble to others when they run out of the provisions
brought in under visiting rights.  They come under the influence of the side
who gives them provisions, and they begin speaking inconsistently.  SOme
switch from the left to the right, while others receive patronage.  This is
part of the characteristics of beffudlement out of hidden frustrations.  These
are the genuine characteristics of our boarders -- the brave and valiant
heroes of democracy -- inside the prison.

Separate bungalows are allocated inside the prison in accordance with the
severity of the offense or the status of those imprisoned under the Unlawful
Associations Acti, antigovernment acts under Section-6 of the Criminal Law,
subversive acts against the state under Section-8 of the Criminal Law,
offenses under the 1950 Emergency Act, and the Law Safeguarding the State from
the Danger of Subversive Elements.

Actually, in prison circles, these bungalows are referred to as the affluent
people's Windemere residential area.  (passage omitted on facilities inside
the bungalows and family problems facing political prisoners)

I have to smile recalling my own experience.  When the special court handed
down a prison sentence, I pretended to smile while standing before the
prosecuting organizations.  I was trying to show off that politicians were no
cowards.  Actually, the sound of my pounding heart was louder than the sound
of the engine of a turbo jet.  Having to pretend was tiring indeed.  (passage
omitted on wife consoling the author)

Democracy is not an ideology.  So, my colleagues and I in the Insein Jail
circles were not ideologues in our convictions.  We were the victims of
bigotry.  No one need to answer about what we were bigoted about, as the whole
universe understands.

Politicians are neither machinese nor heartless human beings.  THey are
only human.  Therefore, they are not able to ignore their human
feelings.  (passage omitted elaborating on human feelings) These human
feelings gradually make our convictions melt like an ice sculpture. 

We analyze politics as follows:  No human is free from politics. 
According to the political dictionary, the act of sweek garbage on the
streets by a municipal worker is politics.  So we should not be creating
the pretext that we were imprisoned for our political activities.  We
should firmly say that our offense was violating existing rules and
regulations, decrees, and directives in working for the interests of our
party or an individual we like. 

Our mentors ignore this fact when claiming:  "Political prisoners have
more dignity than ordinary prisoners, and they should be entitled to
privileges under the law."  They say:  "People inside the prison are
sacrificing for the interest of the people.  Please help and support
them."  What is the motive behind these claims.  First, it is aimed at
encouraging the violation of laws, rules and regulations, and decrees. 
The second motive is that only when there are people capable of
violating laws and regulations will they be able to gain political
mileage.  After that, they will claim "those who arrested unjustly" and
portray the government as a villain.  These mentors are smart indeed,
but they are not smart enough to complete their act. 

Let us not argue as to whether politicians in the prison have dignity
and that they are sacrificing for the good of the people.  Let us expose
one of the acts of the so-called politicians in the prison. 

One September 18th (aniversary of the 18 September 1988 military coup):
One of the leaders of the major organization (National League for
Democracy), which referred to the SLORC (State Law and Order Restoration
Council) in English, started a hunger strike from his Bungalow No. 3 to
mark the anniversary of the coup.  All but four to six persons refused
breakfast, making extra work for the wardens in charge of the bungalows
and the chief warden.  The wardens inquired whether the rice was not
properly cooked or whether there were too many husks in the rice.  They
disrespectfully replied that they were staging a political fast. 
Likewise, they refused dinner, causing much distress for the prison
authorities.  They took pride in it as their political victory. 
Actually, they collected hot water cans and covered them with sarongs to
keep them warm until the evening.  With this hot water they boiled their
noodles and consumed bananas by the bunch, coffee and snacks.  They then
accused those who took the prison meal of not cherishing democracy. 
(passage omitted on political prisoners eating sticky rice snack donated
by military families)

These people, who could not even recall the date of the death of their
own father, observed the death anniversary of an Anglo who wrote the
Naval Vessel No. 103 (Muang Thawka) by offering food.  Regarding this
occasion, one long-term inmate named Na Pway commented:  "Uncle, if one
politician dies each week it will be good for people like us who do not
receive provisions."  It is not that they do not have love for us; they
were merely praying for noodles. One former chief editor played a
leading role in concocting a complaint to the Human Rights Commission
and wrote exaggerated reports.  They smuggled a radio into the prison,
sharp metal instruments to plan an escape from the prison. This is being
mentioned to point out the attempts of the so-called politicians inside
the prison to create political mileage.  The prison authorities took
legal action against them in accordance with the jail manual.  There was
much noisy protest over this matter. 

It is urged that political activities that would lead to hail not be
carried out, and there should be awareness about the four categories of
befuddlement. The life of many of those suffering from befuddlement out
of hidden frustrations are ruined.  That is why the prisoners refer to
those serving under Section-J of the Criminal Law as those who are like
westerners, like mischief makers. 

The claim that politicians have more dignity than ordinary prisoners
does not even have the value of a tip on the winning number in the
illegal lottery from a deranged person by the roadside. 

End of Text.